Friday, December 31, 2010
Those who know me know that I can be a “sweaty-palmed” flier when the fragile bird starts rockin’ and rollin’ at thirty-three thousand feet. On those types of flights, there is nothing more comforting than feeling the landing gear lower and lock into place. Its that indication that the CRJ will soon be on the ground and approaching the gate. I’m feeling that same sense on December 31, 2010. Man, this has been a bumpy flight.
Nationally, (That is if we can still be considered a nation by its true definition), we’ve ended this year with a sigh of relief. Never in the Republic’s history, have we teetered so close to the edge of the abyss. We’ve faced danger from within and without, amassed a brain-exploding debt, and embraced the elements of societal erosion and decay. I have no time for conspiracies or wild-eyed conspiracy theorists. Yet, in light of the year that’s been, I’m forced to one of three conclusions.
Conclusion #1: we’re being ruled by a cabal of the most inexperienced, inept and unqualified individuals to squat in that fever swamp city on the Potomac. This parade of Marxists, and washed-up hippies have tried to force failed politico-economic theory down the throats of whom they see as the lumpen proletariat (that would be YOU citizen). It’s the working definition of insanity in motion. The governing theories that failed the “Great Society”, the Carter nightmare, 70 years of Soviet rule, North Korea, et al are being attempted once more in hopes of bringing “profound transformation” here in what has been the most blessed nation in the history of the world. To quote Cousin Sarah, “How’s that hopey-changey thing workin’ for ya?” This current administration has shown themselves to be, using one of their favorite phrases, profoundly intellectually incurious, in their understanding of the United States Constitution, fundamental economics and the historic American ethos.
The remedy for Conclusion #1 is simple; we take back our Republic. The left is already snarking “Take back our country from who?” OK Nancy, this has nothing to do with dermal concentrations of melanin and everything to do with worldview and experience. The current administration hasn’t put the bus in a ditch; they’ve about driven it off a cliff. They tried, and failed and need to be sent back to driver’s ed.
Conclusion #2: There may well be evil, craven men who are purposely working to see to the Destruction of our Republic. Consider just some of these facts for a moment. A sovereign state moves to outlaw a body of law (sharia) that flies in the face of the U.S. Constitution and the first amendment’s establishment clause. This move is challenged by an individual working on behalf of a foreign interest, and is struck down as “unconstitutional”. Another state moves to enforce existing U.S. law, only to be taken to court by an activist Justice Department. Elected officials are on record clearly flouting Constitutional constraints and abrogating their oaths of office. As if this weren’t enough, there appears almost to be a concerted cultural subversion of the American ethos. Faith, family, freedom, thrift, ingenuity, vision, and hope; all the facets of that jewel of American Exceptionalism have been under continual assault.
The remedy for Conclusion #2 is also simple. We investigate, and if there is a preponderance of evidence, convene a court to try this cabal for treason. I did say treason, a word that few have the gonads to utter in this post-modern, PC-addled world. If these Bradley Manning’s and their ilk are found guilty, they should face the historic penalty for this craven crime.
Conclusion #3: It is very possible, and conceivable that this nation has fallen under the Hand of Divine judgment. Think about it for a moment. This is a nation that was conceived and birthed by individuals who were thoroughly steeped in the Judeo-Christian Consensus. Christian, Jew, Theist, Deist alike was cognizant of the providential hand that appeared to rest upon the new nation. In-turn, there was a reverential respect. All of this began to come under assault in the last half century as God haters and other infidels, in their contempt for the Divine, declared war on the Almighty. Since then, they have waged a long war to systematically erase the presence and very memory of the Almighty from the American story. With God, cast into the dustbin of history, there would be no need for his laws and decrees. In this atheistic new world, life is cheapened, truth is irrelevant, and we become like those in the Book of Judges who "Did what seemed right in their own eyes." I believe that if we’ve been smote by the Almighty, their would be no doubt in anyone’s mind. It could well be a case however, of Him taking a step back, letting us stick our fingers in the light socket, and saying “How’s that hopey-changey thing working for ya’?”
Conclusion #3, though seemingly simple, is a much taller order. This will require individual introspection and soul searching, the kind of self-examination that Saint Paul spoke of. It will require both private and public acknowledgement of guilt against the Kingdom of God. It demands both private and public repentance, along with a turning from our wickedness and turning towards the face of God. In this, perhaps He will turn from His anger, show His mercy and heal our Republic.
May God save us from another 2010.
Wednesday, December 29, 2010
The second chapter of St. Matthew’s Gospel provides us with a brief, chilling account of the events surrounding this feast day.
When Herod saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, he was infuriated, and he sent and killed all the children in and around Bethlehem who were two years old or under, according to the time that he had learned from the wise men. Then was fulfilled what had been spoken through the prophet Jeremiah:
"A voice was heard in Ramah,
wailing and loud lamentation,
Rachel weeping for her children;
she refused to be consoled, because they are no more."
Herod “the Great” clearly suffered from paranoid-schizophrenia, a particularly dangerous condition for a despot with the power of life or death. His wife Mariamne and three of his sons were executed under his orders. Though being one who professed to be a Jew, the historian Josephus recounts a decadent lifestyle that would have been completely scandalous to the observant Jew. So when in another fit of paranoia he ordered the slaughter of male infants in the vicinity of Bethlehem, it would hardly raise a blip radar. Herod was so consumed by the fact that few if any would mourn his passing, that he assembled a group of influential men at Jericho. Upon his death, these men would be slaughtered with the idea that expressions of grief and mourning might be seen as mourning for Herod. His son Archilaus refused to carry out the order.
When I first heard this Gospel account at age six, it was truly frightening. I had an incomprehensible image of soldiers descending on unsuspecting children and hurting them. I could only ask why. It would take some more time to begin to understand the greater magnitude. Growing to adulthood and becoming a parent with two little guys of my own, the focus seemed to turn from the little ones and onto Rachael and her neighbors. Rachael (as foretold by Jeremiah) was seized with a searing grief that no consolation could assuage. Mere moments ago, her little Matthias or Joseph was quietly playing at her feet as she perhaps kneaded the dough for the family bread. Or, maybe her little Jonah was following her home from the well. Now, in a horrific moment, he’s gone. She cries out to heaven as acid tears burn her cheeks.
This morning as I meditate over the Collect and appointed readings, my focus has been pulled back all the way to the Throne of the Almighty. We serve a God who is acquainted with our griefs and sorrows. What did He feel at that moment? What does he feel in the face of man’s abject inhumanity to man? Does his heart feel like my heart when I ponder acts of cold, wanton cruelty?
I know that Michael Vick’s name in the title may seem absolutely random if not a bit kooky. But, at least in my fever swamp brain, he fits into this.
Mr. Vick was tied to a dog fighting ring for which he was tried, convicted and punished. He served hard time for this and I pray that the lessons were learned and the debts paid.
There are many sports that guys and their dogs can participate in, but dog fighting doesn’t make the list. It is cruel at is very core and has no place in our society. What I don’t understand however, is how those who cry for the dogs in the dog fighting trade have absolutely no issue over the 3,100 prenatal infants whose lives were suddenly snuffed out today in what should have been a sanctuary… their mother’s womb. This really speaks to a societal cognitive dissonance
Friday, December 24, 2010
We believe in one God, the Father, Almighty, Maker of all things visible and invisible; and in the one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, begotten of the Father, only-begotten, that is, from the substance of the Father; God from God, Light from Light, Very God from Very God, begotten not made, of one substance with the Father, through whom all things were made, both in heaven and in earth; who for us men and for our salvation came down and was incarnate, was made man, suffered, and rose again on the third day, ascended into heaven, and is coming to judge the living and the dead; And in the Holy Spirit. And those who say: "There was a time when he was not", and: "Before he was begotten he was not", and: "He came into being from nothing", or those who pretend that the Son of God is "of another substance" [than the Father] or "created" or "alterable" or "mutable", the catholic and apostolic church places under a curse."
Hardly the words of one trying to obfuscate the "Christ of Christmas". Now, once more for effect... Merry Christmas!!
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Shall I abandon, O King of mysteries, the soft comforts of home? Shall I turn my back on my native land, and turn my face towards the sea?
Shall I put myself wholly at your mercy, without silver, without a horse, without fame, without honour? Shall I throw myself wholly upon You, without sword or shield, without food and drink, without a bed to lie on? Shall I say farewell to my beautiful land, placing myself under Your yoke?
Shall I pour out my heart to You, confessing my manifold sins and begging forgiveness, tears streaming down my cheeks? Shall I leave the prints of my knees on the sandy beach, a record of my final prayer in my native land?
Shall I then suffer every kind of wound that the sea can inflict? Shall I take my tiny boat across the wide sparkling ocean? O King of the Glorious Heaven, shall I go of my own choice upon the sea?
O Christ, will You help on the wild waves?
Sunday, October 10, 2010
Saturday, September 11, 2010
Thursday, September 09, 2010
- Damn the nation from the pulpit like rev. Jeremiah Wright
- Emotionally assault mourners at military funerals like the trolls from Westboro Baptist
- (Apparently) Intimidate voters a la New Black Panthers
- Take your best white sheets off the bed and wear them in the public square
- Burn the Holy Bible
- Engage in sex acts on a public street, in front of children (gay pride parade style)
- Engage in street evangelism at that same pride parade.
- Build a monument of triumphal conquest in the shadow of a mass grave in Lower Manhattan.
- Burn copies the koran on the anniversary of the most cowardly against civilians in American history
Tuesday, September 07, 2010
We moved down here from Washington County Maryland in 1994. Shortly after our arrival, I would hear this mantra repeated often: Don't get in trouble in Stafford. Initially it seemed to be sour grapes from someone who crossed the line and was called to the bench to answer for their "misdemeanourin" (to quote Governor Menelaus "Pappy" O'Daniel). It soon became clear that far too many people were making the claim for it to be mere simpering.
One only needs to read the Freelance Star a week or so to realize that the phrase "held without bond" appears in nearly every story concerning some neer' do well who ran afoul of the Stafford County Mounties. Dovetail this fact that the County is saddled with a Commonwealth Attorney who has made it his personal crusade to turn as many citizens into felons as the calendar will bear. This is the same one who's office charged an 8 and 10 year-old as felons for the Mansonesque crime of chucking snowballs at a moving car (something that could be remedied by a simple trip to the woodshed).
Monday, August 30, 2010
Growing/Continuing in Christ
When we look across history and the religions that weaved through the fabric of history, we see a pantheon of deities that were, by and large, capricious tricksters who seemed to take some twisted pleasure in fooling, deceiving, or otherwise tripping up us poor mortal schlubs. Greek, Roman, Celtic and other Mythological accounts are replete with gods and demi-gods playing us humans to be either a source of entertainment or just the butt of their jokes. This isn’t limited to antiquity; the Allah of contemporary Islam is seen to be one who may mislead based on his prerogative while still holding humanity accountable according to a number of suras or verses of the Quran. This is not the case of the God of the Old and New Testaments of our Bible.
Far from being a trickster, deceiver, or liar; the “One God”, the creator of heaven and earth who we confess in the creeds, not only communicates truth, but He is the very personification of truth. He is unambiguous concerning his proclamations and expectations. His demands are steep, so steep that he makes an Olympic gymnastics coach look like a teddy bear by comparison. Yet in His love, He has taken amazing strides to see that those He’s called, those who love and desire to honor Him have a way to do so. It’s a safe axiom to say that; “Where the LORD demands, He provides.”
The God who created us knows that we’re into the “process” of things, or how things work. This is evidenced in the fact that a three year-old can ask “why?” without end and as adults, we’re enamored shows that demonstrate how things work or how things are done. When we consider it, we can see how our God has devoted a significant portion of His Word to the “How to’s” of His kingdom. The passage of New Testament scripture that we heard this morning from St. Paul’s Letter to the Colossian church contains a great “How To” direction. St. Paul’s letter to the Colossians, Chapter two verses 6-10, calls the saints at the church on Colossae to mature in the faith and not fall prey to deceptive doctrines that have crept into that local assembly. The God, who levied this command on that church, also laid out the way for that command to be fulfilled, as we’ll see.
The Church at Colossae was under assault. Now, this isn’t breaking news as all First Century believers were facing external threats from diverse groups that included Imperial Roman authority, the local Jewish community and elements of the indigenous gentile communities. The church at Colossae was dealing with a more subtle, more insidious threat from within; an early expression of whet would come to be known as Gnosticism had crept into their midst and its adherents were seeding the body with lethal heresy. Like contemporary New Age gurus or some aberrant teachers sometimes encountered in modern Pentecostal or Charismatic circles, these false teachers who would later become known as Gnostics brought a slicker, sexier body of teachings that purported to bring a “higher”, more “spiritual” revelation of the Godhead.
St. Paul’s letter to this church was written to not only refute the diabolical teachings of these errors, but to proclaim the supremacy and sufficiency of Christ Jesus as both God and mediator.
Let’s consider these words over the next few minutes. Viewing how their instruction was urgent and timely for the Colossians, and reflect too how they’ve not lost their edge in directing us in our growth in God.
“What you did” v. 5
The Apostle Paul was delighted to share his joy with the Colossians concerning their faith in Christ. He commended the Colossians in proclaiming that he “delights to see how orderly [they] you are and how firm [their] your faith in Christ is.” Unlike immediate concern for their Galatian brothers and sisters, whose faith had appeared to run aground, the saints at Colossae were maturing in their walk with the Almighty. Their relationship with the risen Christ was steadfast and firm. This kind of faith was and continues to be the type that provides a robust framework that supports continued growth and facilitates a bounty of spiritual fruit in the lives of God’s elect.
Paul knew, as he reminded the saints in Rome, that faith was “Received through hearing,
“Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ. (Rom 10:17)”
Not just any hearing but the hearing of the counsel of the Almighty God”. The Colossians weren’t won over by shock and awe or “signs and wonders” ministries, but rather by the pure and complete message of God’s Gospel. God, through His Spirit and prevenient grace, allowed these Colossian saints to be sensitive to the word and spirit; belief and repentance followed.
“What you do” vv.6-7
Because we ostensibly came to a faith in Christ Jesus in the same manner as the Colossian saints, we should expect to press on towards a spiritual maturity in the same way that the Apostle has instructed them. And with this, Paul lays out the “Next step” in declaring:
The walk of faith is exactly this; its not an event or a moment in time, its solidly relational and characterized by continued, forward motion. Sometimes walking, sometimes running or even sometimes limping or even crawling on our knees; regardless, our walk of faith is a sacramental, sanctified journey from the miry clay spoken of by David in Psalm 40 where He rescued us, to the glories He’s prepared. These are those “incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus” which St. Paul spoke of in his letter to the Ephesians.
As we continue in this walk of faith, we’re called to root down and build up.
Roots are perhaps the most underappreciated structures in the plant kingdom. They’re mostly invisible, often cursed by gardeners and plumbers alike for their ability to invade and spread. In a healthy plant, the roots account for upwards of 50% of the plant’s structural mass. Its very easy for us to look at a tree and see something shaped like a trowel, or lollipop or even a well-crafted Slazenger tennis racquet. Yet if you could uproot that plant, shake loose the trapped soil and you’d have something akin to a dumbbell or a two-headed tennis racquet. Now, this occurs for reasons beyond symmetry and aesthetics. A robust network of roots exist in a healthy plants for two primary reasons, these being a method for providing structural stability and a means to provide nourishment to the plant. No plant without adequate root structures would be able to even withstand the basic demands of gravity; it would collapse under its own weight. Too, it would whither and die in even the lushest climates.
Taking the queue from the natural order, we can see the necessity in the Apostle’s instruction to sink deep roots. We’re not poplars, pines or oaks; so how and wear does a believer sink their roots?
We root our lives in Christ Jesus. Those spiritual roots augur down in to the depths of the Christ, holding fast to His love and mercy. They wend their way, clinging onto His promises. Like the natural tree withstanding gravity, the rooted saint can stand against the forces of doubt, faith that’s susceptible to wavering, and temptations to sin against our God, our neighbor and ourselves. Those roots take a firm hold into promises like “I’ll never leave or forsake you”, or that “way of escape” in the face of temptation. Once anchored, we can feed on the life-giving Word of God, lift our voices in praise and meditating on the rich counsel offered to us in scripture.
Rooted, we can build. When we build in this state, we become like that builder in Matthew 7 who built upon the solid rock. The nourishment, security and strength derived from rooting and building on the foundation provided by the Christ will result in a visible witness to the world around us. This, Paul tells the Colossian saints, and us, will bring about a spiritual strengthening. We can see that the saint who roots well and roots deep, builds high and builds to the glory of the Almighty.
This rooting, building and growing will inevitably bring about tangible, visible fruit in our lives and the lives of all saints who live out this exhortation. As sure as to ignore this command results in a sick, grumbling, anemic Christian, obeying this command will result in a believer whose life is overflowing with joy and thanksgiving. This is a thanksgiving that overflows and surpasses not only our own imaginations, but one that causes those in our lives, saints and pagans alike, to stop and take notice. This thankful heart is a heart that won’t be easily shaken, or distracted from what the Almighty has already accomplished. This heart, beating in the life of the saint, will equip and empower that saint to continue and persevere in the pressing on to the mark of the higher calling in Christ Jesus.
There is still one more thing we need to think about as we consider the call to and the importance of being rooted. This is something that we can easily observe in nature and can apply its principle to the spiritual realm. Well rooted trees that stand in groves or woodlots or forests stand stronger than solitary trees. The lone tree in a windswept field lacks the protection of those trees that stand together. I mention this as a reminder that we root and grow as a community of saints in normal, healthy Christianity. We’ve not been called to be the “Lonesome Pine”, growing out there on our own. In this community, not only do we exist in vertical communion with our Lord, we exist in horizontal communion with our brothers and sisters. We feed from on high, while strengthening those around us.
“What you avoid” v. 8
After giving positive exhortations to the saints at Colossae, St. Paul lays out a strong, serious warning, where he says:
The Apostle lays down a strong warning against those insidious philosophies and beliefs that were quietly being injected into the Colossian church. These teachings had an initial appeal and a promise of enlightening these saints beyond the “simple” and “pedestrian” message of the Gospel, yet under their veneer laid a bitter poison that could leave the Colossian saints with shipwrecked faith. This esoteric teaching did nothing whatsoever to proclaim the Gospel, the words of Christ or the teaching of the Apostles. What it did was focus speculative arguments about angels, arguments about Mosaic Law and the Jewish traditions. Falling into these would have the similar effect of stumbling into a mud bog where one would soon find themselves stuck and unable to escape. Paul reminds these saints that these philosophies have no origin, nor nothing to do with the Divine. Instead, they are hollow straw men with origins outside of God and His holy counsels.
We here today have been blessed in the sense that our blended family is one that said no to the insipid teachings that had crept into our respective churches, taking them hostage. Through God’s help, we were able to see through those hollow philosophies and thoroughly repudiate them. This said, we’re called to remain alert and not to rest on our laurels.
Some philosophies and doctrines are easily seen for the schmutz that they are, and are indefensible despite the best efforts of those peddling them. Others can be more delicate, more subtle and yet as equally destructive. Looking across the landscape of American Christendom, or flipping through the train wreck that represents a considerable segment of “Christian media”, it doesn’t take long to discover the grandchildren of those who were attempting to influence the church at Colossae. These are those whose teachings have derailed the faith of many who have wandered far off the path in the pursuit of these contemporary philosophies. Instead of endless genealogies teachings on the ranks of angels, there are saints this morning across this County and this Nation who are having their ears tickled by everything and anything BUT the Gospel of our Lord. They’re being held captivated by conspiracy theories, or being lambasted by a gospel of social justice. Others are chasing hard after signs and wonders or watching and waiting for the gold dust to fall upon them during altar services. Others have been captivated and ultimately discouraged by the prosperity gospel that has crept through the church like a spiritual kudzu.
The warning serves to amplify and restate the importance of the Apostle’s exhortation to root and grow. Not only does nature abhor a vacuum, but the heart of man won’t tolerate a vacuum either. Remember Christ’s parable concerning the bound and bum-rushed strongman. If we’re not feeding on Christ through word or through prayer and meditation, we will feed on something in order to stop the growling in our spirits. And in this we have a choice; we can choose to feed on the prime rib that the Almighty has set before us, or we can stuff ourselves with the pork rinds and RC cola set out by our adversary.
“What you possess” vv. 9-10
There is a powerful takeaway in all of this, as the Apostle continues:
Paul is making a powerful pronouncement in describing Christ’s nature to the Colossians, but he simply proclaiming what was already a solidly established matter of Scripture and Christian thought.
In answering Phillip’s request to be “shown the Father”, Jesus declared in John 14 that “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father.” John’s preamble to his Gospel narrative, as speaking of Jesus (as the “Word”) proclaimed “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”
Christ’s deity was affirmed externally on two particular instances within the Gospel narratives. I’m not referring to some extra-biblical sources, I’m speaking of the extra-natural where the Father, the supreme and almighty temporarily disrupted the impenetrable barrier between the physical and ethereal to assert and celebrate the full divinity of Jesus. Probably, the first event that comes to mind is the Father’s pronouncement, and the Holy Spirit’s brief incarnation at Christ’s baptism by John in the muddy Jordan River. As the Spirit of God appeared as a dove, the Father’s voice shook the Jordan valley as he proclaimed “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.” Again some time later on the mount of transfiguration, the Father makes the same pronouncement, only adding the imperative to “Listen to Him.”
While the Colossians may have been tempted to earnestly seek a greater, more powerful revelation along with higher knowledge of the Divine, they already possessed the revelation of the Almighty in the person of Jesus the Christ.
While the apostate teachers were contending that Jesus was a mere Demiurge who was subordinate to the true God, Paul would have the Colossian saints know under no uncertain terms, that not only was Jesus the Christ of God, but that within him was the fullness of God.
“For in Christ all of the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form v.9”
Jesus was no tin-horn, second string divine personality who answered to a mightier, more complete Being, he was and remains the complete revelation and the fullness of the very Godhead. There is none other and anyone attempting to make this claim is an outright imposter.
John, referred to Christ as “The Word”, the perfect expression of God.
In perhaps the most powerful and climactic words of the Apostle Paul’s exhortation, he tells these Colossian saints that they are, as children of God who are rooted and growing in grace, that this fullness of God now resides within them! Not only were these false teachers attempting to sell them a wagon of junk, they were attempting to sell what the saints of God possessed in real time!
Saints, not only may we take huge comfort in the knowing that we’ve been introduced and know the God of the universe, we may take an even greater comfort in knowledge that that God dwells now within the us. Take a moment to get a hold of this; the one who spoke photons into existence, the one who opened his mouth and neutrons began to spin around protons lives within all who have called upon His name in repentance.
* * * * *
Thursday, August 19, 2010
Deep Forest's Sweet Lullaby was taken from recordings made from the songs of indigenous tribesmen from deep within equatorial Africa. I listen to the melodies and the ethereal voice of the young mother singing to her little one and I have to wonder if I'm hearing an echo of Eve's voice as she attempted to quiet Abel or Seth under the antediluvian starlight.
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
There is a reason that I rarely fire off responses and that being that I would rather think something through before flipping the selector to full auto and firing off some missive. I want (the serious stuff) that’s posted on the seat to have deliberation, weight and hopefully, some gravitas. My goal, concerning the serious issues, is to apply a principle voiced by James the Less in his General Epistle. This is the admonition for us to be “Quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to become angered”.
Mrs. Catbird (Ms. Robin) and I have something that we affectionately refer to as the “outrage of the morning”. As she’s usually up first, first to see the paper and first to hear the morning news, I’m typically the one to as “So what’s the outrage of the morning?” Typically it will involve some nanny-state foray into the land of the unconstitutional, or yet another bum check that’s being written by the compulsive spenders currently occupying Capitol Hill. True, there is plenty of bone headedness coming out of DC to keep any thinking person in perpetual rant mode. Fun as ranting may be at times, I would much rather toss something out to the marketplace that will give folk something to think about beyond a dismissive “There goes another Libertarian nut job.”
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
I bind unto myself today,
the power of God to hold and lead.
His eye to watch, His might to stay,
His ear to hearken to my need.
The wisdom of my God to teach,
His hand to guide, His shield to ward.
The word of God to give me speech,
His heavenly host to be my guard.
To quote Lon Solomon, "Not a sermon, just a thought."
Friday, August 06, 2010
We’re gathered here together this morning to witness and celebrate the covenantal joining of George and Gracie, as they pledge themselves to one another in the presence of Almighty God, their family, and friends.
Christian Marriage, towers high above other marriages as it is rooted in love. Unlike marriages that focus on what amounts to an economic transaction, or an act of diplomacy, Christian marriage is founded on God’s love for His creation and demonstrated in the love we have for our beloved. Scripture bears witness to the value our God places on marriage. Not only do we witness the joining of a man and women in the garden, we also see a picture of marriage in the depiction of Christ’s relationship to His bride, the church. In fact, St. John tells us in his gospel account even notes that our Master’s first miracle was done on behalf of a bride and groom.
The Command to Love
Already in this great day, Gracie and George have pledged their love to one another and will do so once more before their first official smooch as husband and wife. This is neither mere coincidence nor gushing sentimentality. Love is pledged because we’ve been called to love. We’re called to love because this is a gift of the Almighty given to each of us. Not only has God loved us, but by creating us in His image, He’s given us the capacity to love one another as He loves us. St. John, who once sought permission to call fire down on a village, now calls us to: “Love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.” Its only logical, and reasonable that we would love one another, as the beloved apostle reminds us: “Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.”
But what is Love? How can we tell the difference between the genuine and a mere quiver in our liver? Surely if we’ve been called to love one another, its helpful to know love and its expressions. We don’t have to sweat this because the God, who called us to love, has described love and demonstrated it in the life of His son, Christ Jesus.
The Characteristics of Love
St. Paul provides us with a masterful description of love and its characteristics in his writings to the Church in Corinth. He tells us that rather than being self-focused and narcissistic, love is directed outward towards its intended recipient. Love is patient and kind and certainly not arrogant, self-serving or begrudging. Love protects and trusts the object of its affections. Love seeks the very best for its recipient.
Friends because God is love as told by St. John, love will conquer all and love will not fail.
The Chrism of Love
Gracie and George, your love for one another is one very visible sign of the covenant relationship that you’re entering into today. Each expression of that love and kindness towards one another emphatically says “I’d marry you all over again.” It’s a visible sign, and oasis in our dry and graceless world that the Almighty God who brings two hearts and joins them as one, empowers them to love beyond their greatest expectations. As you grow together in Him, your love will become a beacon that will shine further than you’ll know this side of eternity.
Thursday, August 05, 2010
Thursday, July 29, 2010
qui respondens ait non est bonum sumere panem filiorum et mittere canibus
Note: The full story may be found here...
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Its a "Oldie" as far as CCM tunes go, but this song has stuck with me from the moment I first heard it back in the CCM top 40 days.
Monday, July 19, 2010
Saturday, July 03, 2010
Lord God Almighty, in whose Name the founders of this country won liberty for themselves and for us, and lit the torch of freedom for nations then unborn: Grant that we and all the people of this land may have grace to maintain our liberties in righteousness and peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
"Unless the LORD builds the house, They labor in vain who build it; Unless the LORD guards the city, The watchman keeps awake in vain."
"How lonely sits the city that was full of people! She has become like a widow who was once great among the nations! She who was a princess among the provinces has become a forced laborer. She weeps bitterly in the night and her tears are on her cheeks; She has none to comfort her among all her lovers. All her friends have dealt treacherously with her; they have become her enemies." Lamentations 1:1-2
We traveled east on Lincoln Highway, crossing Brandywine creek and heading into town. My eyes were met with decay and dirt. A block of shops in the town center were replaced by a gaping dirt patch. Across the street, folk were sitting idly outside of a laundromat. Further on, my eyes met the crumbling bronzework on the steeple of the church that was once First Baptist. As we continued, there was a growing "Bizarro-World" feel to things. The buildings were, for the most part, the same. Yet, they were occupied with other activities. Gibney's, Teti's, Sante's were all still "there", but were occupied by different businesses.
Friday, June 25, 2010
Sunday, June 20, 2010
From the Book of Common Prayer:
O Lord, make us have perpetual love and reverence for your holy Name, for you never fail to help and govern those whom you have set upon the sure foundation of your loving kindness; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Thursday, June 17, 2010
I've noticed a interesting phenomenon when I return home to Coatesville; everything seems so much smaller than I remember it to be. My first home at 828 Stirling Street, with its steps, front porch and fenced back yard seems huge in my memory. Yet it becomes incredibly diminished when seeing it again in person. The same exists when viewing Coatesville from street level on Lincoln Highway (Lancaster Ave to the rest of the world). The homes and shops didn't seem so packed in together as a kid. The distance between Sante's and Teti's seemed to stretch forever.
I'll have camera in hand tomorrow so hopefully there'll be some photos here later.
Saturday, June 12, 2010
Friday, June 11, 2010
Almighty God, we remember before you today this child
known You and his family; and we pray that, having
opened to him the gates of larger life, you will receive him
more and more into your joyful service, that, with all who
have faithfully served you in the past, he may share in the
eternal victory of Jesus Christ our Lord; who lives and
reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God,
for ever and ever. Amen.
The full story may be found here...
I read the story of how men whom John Brennan has described as ostensibly being on a "quest for personal revival and holiness", sadistically and wantonly snuffed out the life of a seven year old boy as an act of cowardly revenge. Once more, after dealing with the thought of a terrorized child being ripped from his family and having his life strangled out, I'm rubbing my temples in amazement.
I've not heard one statement from Ministry of Truth Spokesman Gibbs, or his boss condemning this act of raw barbarism.
This should serve as yet another reminder of the ramifications of the mortal struggle between the Judeo-Christian consensus and benighted wahabism. The latter seeks to drag western civilization in chains back to the eight century. It is willing to die for a hellish world where women are on par with livestock and lives may be snuffed for a pretext. The former stands in direct opposition to all that the latter stands for.
In all of this, I take comfort in the fact that the one who sees the "one sparrow fall" has seen this tragedy and has made due note. He's made his position clear concerning those who consider hanging children acceptable behavior:
...it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.
Saturday, June 05, 2010
This is disturbing video, and it truly reveals a sin-sick heart in Helen Thomas. Had another talking head made a like statement about any other people group, they'd have been quickly shown the door. After watching the video, I'm left with two possible conclusions. First, she's faded into her twilight years and is now in a state where reason and logic have started to become muddled. If so, its time for Ms. Helen to quietly retire to an assisted living center in Naples, FL. Otherwise, we're listening to a lady who is just plain evil. Spewing venom like that usually requires a Hazmat sticker to be slapped on yer' forehead. Personally, I hope she is in the former state as otherwise, she sounds as one who keeps a white hood, a cross and lighter fluid in her closet.
Having a anti-semite at the Whitehouse on an event like this is tantamount to having David Duke show up in there in February.
Monday, May 24, 2010
Speaking as the scion of immigrants…
Ya know what gentle reader? I have a mas macho beefe with Felipe and his pathetic scolding last week. Yes you know the ones. First, there was the one made on the Whitehouse lawn while BHO assisted in heaping scorn on the Republic he swore to defend, not dismantle. Then there was the tortured little screed delivered in the presence of the most corrupt, sycophantic bevy of weasels to stink up Capitol Hill since our Republic’s birth. How dare you sir, step on American soil to excoriate her citizens. Before scolding us for our audacity to define or borders and defend our laws, you need to take a good hard look in the mirror there, El Jefe.
Mr. Calderon’s diatribe is quickly hoisted on its own petard upon examination of his own view of unchecked migration. In Mexico, you had better had your papers in close proximity as authorities will quickly determine you legal status in their sovereign state. Those there illegally will be summarily be deemed persona non-grata and given a ride to the border. Or worse, they may find themselves at the mercy of corrupt authorities who’ll exploit their status. Being convicted of illegal immigration in Mexico carries up to a two-year jail term and repeat offenders may find themselves incarcerated for up to ten years.
Legal immigrants in Calderon’s Mexico must pass a stiff muster. To immigrate, one must have job offer letter in hand, or possess an independent source of wealth. There are no “bilingual public services” or “Spanish as a second language” programs in the schools for the crumb crunchers. The legal alien in Mexico has no political voice. Were they to gather up the grapes to found their on version of “The Race” (La Raza), their status would be immediately revoked and they’d be standing in El Paso, Brownsville or San Diego.
So by way of comparison, the Illegal in our Republic gets the keys to the fridge and mini-bar, the Illegal on el Jefe’s side gets the business. The legal resident alien, on this side enjoys the privileges of a constitutional republic, the legal resident alien on that side is told to cork his piehole or start packing.
President Calderon’s true beef becomes evident once one takes a cursory look at the economic picture of Mexico. In terms of revenue, Mexico’s primary income source is derived from oil exports. Its second source is derived from wire transfers, money orders and plain old cash that’s brought back or sent back by those illegally resident in the United States. Strip away his egalitarian claptrap, and we see its all about the ‘Benjamins.
Mr. Calderon, I say bollocks to your strawman beef against the law-abiding citizens of Arizona. Mr. President, stop with the apology tour and start upholding the oath of President of the United States of America. Stop using every opportunity to take a swipe at the Republic which duly elected you.